Yankees Find New Way To Lose

Pinch runner Charles Gipson was picked off of first base by Chicago's Joe Borowski to end the game and kill a late-inning rally by the Yankees. Mark Prior held down the Yankees for the better part of the game as the Cubs took the final match of the series 8-7.

Things looked bad for the Yankees immediately. Starter Andy Pettitte (5-6) did not bring his best stuff to Wrigley Field, allowing a three-run homerun to Moises Alou in the first inning to put his team in a quick 3-0 hole.

In the second inning, Ramon Martinez tagged Pettitte for a homerun, and Alex Gonzalez' RBI double chased him from the game after just 1 2/3 innings. Jeff Weaver relieved him and immediately allowed an RBI triple to Corey Patterson before getting Sammy Sosa to ground out to end the inning.

Pettitte took the loss in his shortest outing of the season. He was charged with six earned runs on six hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings, while striking out just one. His ERA rose all the way up to 5.33 after the performance.

From there, the game belonged to Mark Prior (7-4). With the exception of a Jason Giambi solo homerun, Prior dominated the Yankees with electric stuff on the mound. The young right-hander struck out ten batters over six innings. He scattered seven hits and a walk en route to his seventh win of the season.

The Yankees finally got to Prior in the sixth when Raul Mondesi connected on a solo homerun. Hideki Matsui followed that with a double and then scored on Juan Rivera's single to right. Prior finished the inning and didn't return.

With Prior gone, the Yankees tried to make their move. But not before letting the game slip just out of reach. Juan Acevedo entered in the sixth and escaped it without giving up a run despite his best efforts. His luck ran out in the seventh inning though, thanks to some interesting defense.

After a leadoff single by Mark Grudzielanek, Alex Gonzalez laid down a bunt to the pitcher. Acevedo fielded but threw the ball away at first. Grudzielanek went all the way to third on Acevedo's error, but he wasn't done running yet. Alfonso Soriano, backing up first base on the play, threw the ball to second to try and get Gonzalez, but Derek Jeter couldn't handle the throw and Grudzielanek scored.

One out later, Sammy Sosa drove home the Cubs' eighth run with his 2,000th career hit.

The Yankees drew to within three runs with a two-run homerun by Robin Ventura in the eighth. In the ninth, with Chicago closer Borowski on the mound, the Yankees scored two more on Jorge Posada's two-RBI single. Gipson came in to pinch run for Posada and, with two strikes on Raul Mondesi, was picked off to end the game and the threat. Borowski notched his 11th save of the season despite the scare.

The Yankees lost the series two games to one and next head home to face the Houston Astros after an off day on Monday. Game one is Tuesday at 7:05 pm. Mike Mussina (7-4, 3.09) will take the hill for the Yankees; Wade Miller (4-6, 4.67) will start for Houston.

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